Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sunflower, Part 2

Professor Wolff demands here, in the context of deleting, rather than responding to, posts, that this one identify her or himself.  Does the illustrious Professor also support requiring voters to let their employers know for whom they voted?  Or the wearing of a Star of David?  Or all homosexuals to be registered with the government?  Or the Mutant Registration Act?

One of the first steps by all tyrants (again, cue a Hitler reference) is to neatly identify who dissidents are, so that  any troublesome thought experiments they offer can be easily dismissed.  Rather than pay attention to what someone says, it's easier to just see from the label that it is the Other who is speaking, and therefore ignore them.

As this one is female, privately bisexual, a very minor public figure in her location, and Google-able, it is impossible for her to wear such a Star.  Forcing everyone to reveal their tangible identities and sources of support on the internet is a great way to make sure that no one says anything unpopular, and that the internet becomes as useful a source of information as mainstream media.

This concept is why cops don't publish the identities of mob informants in the New York Times if they want to get any more informants.

Which, of course, is why the Professor wants to know just who is saying those things so dangerous that they must be deleted: it's so much easier to frighten people into silence than to engage them by ideas alone.  Works great when you're able to fail them for not parroting back the right things, or when you can crush their career for being too esoteric or unreasonable.  The internet, for this brief time before it becomes perpetually linked to tangible people, is an opportunity to exchange ideas freely.

If "I" were struck by lightning tomorrow, and failed to ever post again, but someone else stepped into "my" shoes and carried on the same discussion, would not the discussion still be valid?  What are you so afraid of?  That you can't deal with the ideas?

A quoted response from one of the Professor's admirers follows: "Why should I (or anyone who reads my blog) care about the thoughts of someone who might very well have no knowledge at all about the subject at hand!"

No question mark, of course--there are no questions.  This is an interesting antilife peak, and more directly expresses what this one said above.  Instead of wanting to engage ideas, the poster (one "AK") would prefer to dismiss people who don't "know anything about the subject at hand."  How would AK know if someone knows something about the subject at hand without reading their response?  Simple--he judges a book by its cover.  Textbook proof, here, that old maxims and common wisdoms are not actually employed.

So, then, how does AK know if someone knows anything about "the subject at hand" (which is, presumably, the subject AK would care to read about, and not any subjects he would not care to read about)?  If they have the right university degrees?  If they've been employed in the right profession?  If they belong to the right social caste?  If they're someone the Professor says is all right?

This is the Dawkins style of new religion.  Replace the "God" with an authority-based "science" structure, with its own set of assumptions, faith, no-see-ums and Deadly Sins, and you don't have to bother thinking about things that might upset what you've already decided is acceptable or right.

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